Air Compressors

Air Compressors

Stationary Air Compressors Deliver Big Power in Relatively Small Packages

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From factory floors to surgical centers, stationary air compressors have been integrated into a wide range of medical and industrial applications. Manufactured by leading brands that include Husky, Northern Tool, Ingersoll Rand, Atlas, and Sullair, they're available in three basic types:

Common applications and their associated specs include:

Popular Stationary Models
Application Horsepower PSI CFM Average Dimensions (L-W-H) Estimated Costs
Medical Facility / Dental Office 5 - 15 hp 175 17 - 50 cfm 20" x 33" x 69" $2,400 - $7,500
Medical Facility / Laboratory 5 - 40 hp 100 - 210 16 - 212 cfm 76" x 36" x 71" $4,200 - $27,600
Medical Facility / Dental Office 7.5 - 15 hp 175 24 - 50 cfm 78" x 28" x 55" $1,900 - $7,600
Automotive Service Facility 20 - 200 hp 75 - 150 14.3 - 998 112" x 58" x 80" $16,500 - $24,300
Industrial / Manufacturing Facility 250 - 500 hp 109 - 125 1466 - 2444 160" x 82" x 95" $24,000 - $90,000

A specific compressor for every application

Specific features and construction vary from model to model. But most leading units, like the Stationary Fixed Receiver from Ingersoll Rand, will be manufactured from a durable aluminum construction that features cast iron cylinders and a design that minimizes sound fatigue through quieter operation (62 to 68 dBA is a good benchmark). Typically designed for 100% duty cycle, they provide reliability through a long-life V-belt drive that delivers continuous airflow while providing reductions in maintenance and service requirements.

In addition, and especially important to medical and dental applications, a stationary air compressor will often operate free of vibration transfer. It's worth noting that medically-related applications require a stationary electric air compressor that's NFPA 99 compliant - the QVMS by Quincy is a notable example.

Stationary Industrial Compressor

Models geared toward the automotive industry or manufacturing facilities include a refrigerated air dryer that purifies the compressed air by chilling it to condense and remove moisture, dirt, oil and other contaminates that are likely to mar a fresh paint job. Automotive air compressors also enhance their cost-effectiveness through an airend that runs continuously. This design provides ongoing airflow while in use then downshifts to idle pressure during periods of inactivity and powers down completely after a pre-established amount of time (15 minutes is common).

Similar to the V-belt drive construction, this enhancement has been shown to cut maintenance costs and boost up time, while conserving energy or fuel while the unit is not in use. By providing user-defined variable speeds and automated power-saving features, an energy-friendly industrial air compressor has been shown to directly affect its cost of ownership, where energy consumption was reportedly 15% higher and a tool's life cycle was reduced by 20% to 30% when operated outside its guidelines for peak efficiency.

It's worth noting that most air compressors can be expected to have an operational life of at least 15 years. However, like any other piece of machinery, lifespan and quality of performance are directly impacted by its use and maintenance schedule.

Installation tips

A quick installation is never the way to go. Shopping around and planning ahead can save you big down the line. For example, if you foresee the need for additional lines or air-powered tools in the future, run the lines with the first installation. This will simplify the process to the point where little to no extra installation will be required for the upgrades (at least with regard to the air lines).

In terms of the unit itself, allow 2 to 3 feet in addition to the working dimensions of the air compressor (see chart above). This will keep the work area clear and ensure there's ample room for maintenance and any clearances required by NFPA codes.

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